The Media and Democracy Coalition presents:
Victories in Communication Rights 2010
When you think of ‘resources’ the first things that come to mind are typically energy, food, water, land, etc.
Not as obvious is the idea that information – and the media that carry it – is also a resource, unequally distributed.
Like other areas of progressive politics, there is a movement to open up and expand access to the media as an important part not just of fairness, equality, self-expression and non-discrimination, but also with the understanding that equal access to the media system is critical for the functioning of democracy and political participation. The right to communicate is deeply intertwined with political enfranchisement.
The group of people who advocate for this access is the media justice movement, and our work is similar to the work of the advocates who won free public education in the 19th century, or the expansion of the telephone network in the 20th.
This video, produced for the Media and Democracy Coalition for their event at the 2011 National Conference on Media Reform, was made to celebrate a watershed year. In 2010, Media and Democracy Coalition members won three massive grants to expand access to the Internet, and passed the Local Community Radio Act, which will produce thousands of new, local, amazing non-commercial radio stations across the United States in the coming decade. These were serious grassroots victories that took years of amazing, dedicated, and visionary work by dozens of allies.
Interviewed: Danielle Chynowith, Urbana Champaign IMC; Brandon Bowersox, Urbana City Council; Bryan Mercer, Media Mobilizing Project; Todd Wolfson, Media Mobilizing Project; Juliet Fink, Philadelphia FIGHT; Hannah Sassaman, Prometheus Radio Project; Pete Tridish, Prometheus Radio Project; Brandy Doyle, Prometheus Radio Project; and a segment by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.
On Feb. 17, 2011, Philadelphia groups rallied against proposed cuts to women’s healthcare coming from Harrisburg and Washington. The cuts – to HIV testing, cancer screenings, healthcare coverage through Adult Basic, and others – have come largely as a result of the new Corbett administration’s refusal to tax the new Marcellus Shale gas industry to ameliorate the PA budget crisis. This January I was part of the inaugural video production class sponsored by PhillyCAM, which is the television station owned by the people of Philadelphia – check out their site here. I shot this for Philadelphia NOW.
In 2005, a group of progressive activists in Philadelphia called Philly for Change (the local affiliate of Democracy for America) wrote and performed a sock puppet show about corruption in city government, complete with a cardboard City Hall, sock puppet Mayor John Street, and a dramatization of City Councilman Rick Mariano ascending the City Hall tower before he was to go to jail on corruption charges (this happened in real life, not just in the puppet show).
At first we performed it at a bar in West Philly, then Philadelphia Daily News filmed it in their studio, and it went the Philly version of ‘viral’ regarding an upcoming reform ballot measure. This was the first time Philly for Change was mentioned in Clout. Probably the coolest time, too.